June 15, 2022
There are many good reasons to cut back on alcohol. Limiting your consumption can decrease your risk of heart disease, boost your brain power, allow your liver to heal, and even make it easier to lose weight. But for many people, cutting back often feel like an overwhelming task — especially if you’re trying to break an established habit.
The good news? You can reduce your alcohol intake — or eliminate it entirely — by setting a few realistic goals. Here are seven ways you can ease your way into cutting back.
Making a big change starts a day at a time. Begin by picking days or weekends when you will not consume alcohol to give yourself confidence in your ability to cut back.
Peer support is important for any lifestyle change. Let your friends know you’re dialing back on drinking and ask them to be supportive of your change.
Try getting rid of the alcohol that’s in your home to reduce the temptation to have a drink. Limiting your opportunities to consume alcohol may result in your cutting back without even realizing it.
When you do go out, try having a non-alcoholic drink — such as water or a seltzer — in between alcoholic beverages. Some bars even serve non-alcoholic versions of your favorite beverages. This will allow you to stay social all evening while also reducing the amount of alcohol you are consuming.
Another way to reduce your alcohol consumption while you’re out is to have either smaller drinks or ones with lower alcoholic content. You could ask the bartender to cut back on the amount of alcohol in a cocktail or order a bottle of beer instead of a pint.
When all else fails, place a limit on the amount you’re willing to spend on drinking during an evening out. Even if you have trouble sticking to your other limits, reckoning with a high bill may provide the reinforcement you need.
Cutting back can be more difficult based on your environment. You may want to avoid parties or gatherings at bars where alcohol is central to socializing. Instead, opt for outdoor or fitness activities where your friends are less likely to make booze a key part of the activity.
An occasional drink is unlikely to harm your long-term health, but cutting back can have huge benefits. Drinking more than the recommended amount can lead to a range of alcohol use disorders, a risk faced by fewer than two percent of people who practice drinking in moderation. By setting realistic goals, you can succeed in cutting back on alcohol or dropping the habit entirely. Your body will be very happy you did.